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DaveB last won the day on July 1

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About DaveB

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  1. Good luck...if you come up with some proven info on how spouses are accompanying Philippine citizens, be it balikbayan, some kind of visa, or smuggling in on a fishing boat , I'd love to hear it. We're sitting tight for the immediate future hoping the travel restrictions die down. I'm still hoping to do a "where to live" visit to Subic before end of year. Meanwhile, Alaska Airlines is offering employees a buy out, which might mean (if she accepts it) my wife might be retired six months sooner than we had planned. As of today, it's a 2 week quarantine if you do get through immigration. If we're both retired, we don't care. But I have a queasy reaction to the thought of arriving at the end of a long airplane ride, only to be told I can't enter due to travel restrictions for non-citizens. Maybe being over cautious, but I'd sure like to hear a firm answer to how to pull that off. The Consulate and Embassy visa officers simply won't commit to a firm answer - so they make me nervous.
  2. I'm pinging the consulate for now - but switching to the DC Embassy might be a better option. Sometimes good to send in the same info both places and see who responds. San Francisco has an additional hassle with all the COVID-19 closures and edicts floating around California. They're running like half staff and half hours right now. Don't rely on the airlines to be squared away. Here's a little tale: when we went to PI last March, my wife was scheduled through Hong Kong to Manila. Then the Philippines stopped all air traffic from all Chinese airports, including Hong Kong. Cathay Pacific (a Chinese Airlines), subsequently cancelled my wife's flight, and she changed it to connect through South Korea (we snuck through there just as South Korea was ramping up, but it was never shut down as a connection route to Manila). On that trip, my brother and his daughter also went through South Korea. His son, however, was working in Australia. He had booked a flight from Australia through Hong Kong into Manila. The stupid airline let him get on the plane to Hong Kong, although the Hong Kong-Manila connection closure was by then over a month old. He arrives in Hong Kong and gets told he can't go to Manila. So he then flies back to Australia, and the next day gets a flight from Brisbane direct to Manila. He finally caught up with us about 24 hours after we got to Boracay. Damned if I know why the airlines did that to him. It was almost criminal. I'm pretty flexible - if I gotta bounce around, I gotta bounce around. But I'm sure gonna do my best to pre-arm myself with anything and everything I can personally control. Just a LOT of crazy, ever changing factors laying over everything right now. Still have my fingers crossed that it will die down to a more stable solution set by end of summer - but I have a suspicion some kinds of changes and confusion are just going to stay in place well into next year. We're gonna roll with it best we can, because we have our minds made up to go. Hard headed - with knots on head to prove it.
  3. Yeah...I'm seeing this posted, too: "Inbound Filipino citizens, including their foreign spouses and children, holders of Permanent Resident Visas and 9(e) Diplomat Visas issued by the Philippine government shall be allowed entry, subject to applicable quarantine procedures" I'm going to call the Consulate (which can be a trippy experience sometimes). I have noted that they completely took down their VIsa application link off their website, and they may not be working 13A visas at all right now. But my fall back has always been the "Filipino citizens, including their foreign spouses" phrase. That certainly implies to me that Balikbayan stamps are still being issued (though there might be some other kind of immigration status being used temporarily). I have just noticed over the years that you can get different answers from government officials, sometimes even from those working in the same office. So I have to see what I get if I bypass the "Information Officer" who sent the email, with the possibility he's working off a canned script of some kind rather than from the perspective of one of their actual immigration officers. I'll pass along what I find out. This might be a topic more specific to this Philippine Consulate, and those of us dependent on it, than to the general forum...but I do know at least one couple up in Bellingham is tracking this topic as it applies to their plans.
  4. I've been pinging the consulate in San Francisco (as well as some of the helpful people in this forum) with the intent of getting things together to get in my 13 A visa application in the next month or so. One reason to keep checking with them is to keep up with the status of the general lock down in California - but as of June 16 they re-opened. And then, lately, California has been backsliding and lock down rules seem in a state of flux (for those that don't know, the Frisco Consulate is the main option for us that live on the US west coast - so if you have have to travel from, say, Seattle area - like me - to go there, you want to be sure they are going to talk to you, and you have everything you need with you to support the trip). Anyway...per a email I finally got a response to - not happy news. This is the complete email response I just got: "Thank you for reaching out to the Philippine Consulate General. We apologize for the delayed response. The Consulate is operating on a limited capacity as of this time. We regret to inform you that the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) in the Philippines issued a temporary suspension of Visa Issuance and Visa-Free Privilege (including balikbayan) effective 22 March 2020 until further notice. In this regard, the Philippine Consulate is not accepting visa applications as of this time. We hope this answer helps. " The suspension of the Balikbayan especially surprised me. I thought I'd been hearing of people still entering the country with that, and it was my fall back plan if I didn't get the 13A in place for some reason. As with everything else Philippine government connected, I'm never 100% sure that I'm hearing the "official" government rules or the local consulate's interpretation of the rules. Any insights from the general collective on this one?
  5. I have heard about dynamite fishing. It's actually illegal for Filipinos, too, though hardly enforced - or it just might be illegal in certain protected marine areas, and highly discouraged elsewhere. Really messes up the coral and seascape in general. In fact, I wonder if there is any fishing enforcement in general. The whole subject is just one empty mystery. Unless someone pops up with some insight, I'll likely just have to get there and talk to the locals. And I won't be surprised if I get a different answer at every province and town I go to - kind of created around their particular set of customs, but nothing else. Not an earth shaking problem for me, just one of those random curiosities that popped in my head one day recently when I was out on a charter boat here in Washington.
  6. OK...this is completely off the wall, but I have a question: anyone have any experience with simple recreation fishing in the Philippines? I'm not an avid fisherman, per se (I'm more an avid hunter), but I enjoy doing some now and then. In all my trips back and forth to the Philippines, I can not recall a single time I saw anyone just goofing around fishing and I've never seen any sign of tourist related fishing like you see all over Mexico, for example. Seems all the fishing I've seen in PI is subsistence related: either fishing for something to eat, or fishing to get something to sell to get something to eat. I've done a moderate amount of snorkeling, and there's never any shortage of fish around. But I don't remember ever seeing a rod and reel - it's all net or hand line fishing. And I'm really, really in the dark if there are any regulations/licenses involved if you decided to be the crazy foreigner and just go out to wet a line in a banca. So...anyone ever give this topic much attention?
  7. RE: manofthecold comments - "People retire to the Philippines for different reasons, looking for different things and with differing amounts of retirement income and accrued wealth. For some, retirement in Boracay, may be exactly what they are looking for. For many others, it may not be the type of Philippine lifestyle they are seeking, nor as affordable as a host of other desirable options. Others might prefer places that are more typical to Philippine cultural norms, socially and economically. Boracay is an outlier and I would think that one's experiences living there would be quite different than living in a more economically mixed location where transient tourism isn't the central focus. I would hope that future Philippine retirees take the time to survey all the lifestyles that are available here before buying in to anything, no matter how attractive the initial impression may be." Well said. I've been traveling to the Philippines every year or so for over 30 years. Bounced around a bit of it on various trips, but compared to people who actually live there, I've been doing a lot of simple "drive bys". There's a lot of country there - and a lot of differences across the provinces and towns. Anyone coming in new REALLY needs to just home in on a likely place, get there, and then start looking around. And it's a really fun thing to do, anyway. I have a long list of things to go see that I've stumbled across just in my research leading up to this move. Things I never knew existed. I have no doubt that there's a chance one of those side trips is going to land me just where I always wanted to be because all the circumstances there turned out to be just perfect. It's all part of the adventure.
  8. That's right...rub salt into my wounds with the sunset pictures. Gotta admit - Boracay has world class sunsets.
  9. Tommy T: I bounced around the WSP site for long time trying to find a background certification. Ended up calling them to ask what the heck was going on. Turns out, that background report on convictions that I got earlier, causes you to then ask for a "Notary Letter". Would never have known to do that. It's a multi-layered process: you get directed to a WATCH websight, you order and pay for a background check, you get back a report that confirms you have no convictions, you then go to the report listed in your inbox and you have a selection on the right that allows you to order a notary letter. Once you click on that, you get prompted for the $10/copy payment. That thing generates a letter request into WSP and they print you the hard copy letter and mail it to you. I would absolutely never have found it and known what to do with it if you hadn't pointed me back to the site and I hadn't called the WSP to get step-by-step directions on how to bore down on it. But I'm happy to report "success"...or I will be when I see that blasted thing in the mail. Thanks for the shove...
  10. Hmmm...you may have added another place to look at. Subic has (on paper) some real advantages for us. High on the list is access to the VA contracted hospital in Clark, the ocean is close, and it's an hour away from my wife's family. I need to research Sorsogon a bit and see how it compares. IF we get to do another site tour in the future, we might hit both Subic and Sorsogon in the same trip. With the virus fiasco in full play, I suspect it might be more like "move there, keep loose, explore, then decide". That 14 day quarantine adds a level of hassle to it all. And I think there's at least a 50-50 chance the US is going to be one of those countries with banned direct flights into a lot of countries - kinda like China was a while back. We're only going from bad to worse in our virus management - kinda becoming a global laughingstock. so it might be a weight hanging over our head for a while. I'm familiar with Bellingham, by the way. I graduated from Western back when it was a College, and not a university. I have a nephew going to school there now.
  11. Snowy...just showed your photos to my wife. She drooled. Wants to know if we can just go to your house. Hard to sit in the states and see scenes like that.
  12. Snowy79 Photos...beautiful beach scenes. I've always thought Boracay had a stunning beach - my main problem with it was that it was usually covered in tourists. Looks like that isn't a problem now. I thought it was sparse when I was there in March, but this looks like it's totally deserted. Makes me really jealous I'm still stuck here in the states for now. Edrigo: my wife's from Mabalacat in Pampanga. Great people, nice towns, lousy traffic, no beach. If I'm gonna migrate half way around the world, I've made up my mind I'm going to end up in the proximity of the ocean. Not disparaging your decision - there are dozens of reasons to want to live some place, and the smaller barangays in Pampanga have a lot of charm all their own. But there are stretches like Snowy shows in the pictures in a lot of places, and you don't have to worry about the day when the tourists come back. I suspect my first year or so in PI is going to involve bouncing around until I find that spot that "feels" just right.....Dang, those are nice photos. I am sooooo jealous.
  13. Wow...I gotta go back and check into that. I actually started with them. All I could find on their website was a record request for $11. It simply came back and said "no record found" which meant there are no criminal convictions. But I was uncomfortable because the whole thing was so vague, I was worried about finding myself at the San Francisco Consulate office being told it wasn't good enough. Appreciate the heads up - if you have any hints on the search or query you did to get that report, appreciate hearing about it. I'll go dig some more.
  14. Back Again...Here's a tale of the "new guy" on the forum. I kept getting email notices about this conversation thread, and I kept following the link only to see the same thread I'd been reading for the last couple weeks. Then yesterday I had an "ah ha" moment - I did not know this thread was up to 4 pages. Never noticed the "page" indicator on the bottom. So I kept looking at page 1, and y'all have moved along way past that. Duh. Anyway...to respond to a couple statements. I was in Boracay the first week of March. I thought that was Malay Province, and Aklan was actually south of there, so I may have mis-spoke about my exploration there. My purpose was to cruise up and down between Caticlan and Kalibo and see how it compared as a contender for moving to the Philippines. I stayed in Boracay partly because that was where all the hotels and Air BnBs were, and partly because my brother was tagging along with some of his adult kids, so thought it would be a fun place for them. Boracay tourism was really down at that point - the South Korea version of COVID-19 was just hitting its stride. My wife and I ate brunch one morning at one of the upscale resorts and the waiter told me out of 200 rooms, they only had 11 occupied.. The van company I used to get from Kalibo up to Boracay had a great guy who really knew his way around and we used him for a day with one of their drivers to repeat the trip between Kalibo and Boracay - but off the beaten path and all over the boonies for about 8 hours. My mother in law is from a farm up in the hills above Kalibo and I had been there before. Was kind of impressed with how clean and laid out the city is. We were also looking at things around Nabas. We were on some wide open beaches in between Kalibo and Nabas - nice area. I had mentioned earlier that I have some specific criteria we're seeking. That area meets some of it, but some of would be a bit bothersome to work out. We've moved it to third on our "preference" list. (One thing I came away with was the surprise at the changes in Boracay. I had first visited there about 20 some years ago. At that time, there were no departure/docking terminals at either end of the boat trip. You just went down to the dock, there was a guy there directing people to boats like they were taxis, you paid, you went. When you got to the island, there was no jetty. The boat stopped off shore and dropped a ramp, you went down into knee deep water, and you waded ashore. Then when you got across the beach, there you were - in front of mult-bazillion dollar Hilton. Typical Philippine schizophrenic experience.) We left Caticlan after a couple days, and spent five days roaming around Dumaguete. Liked it, though I liked the area around Dauin best. Then flew up to Manila and got there 36 hours before the Manila airport quarantine kicked in that stopped all domestic flights from landing there. Dodged that bullet. We flew back to the US two days later. Of course, haven't been able to go back since. We had planned on going back in April to check out the greater Subic City/Olongapo/Freeport zone area. Right now, the virus is causing us problems at both ends. My wife retires next February, so we can't deal with a 14 day quarantine to spend a week looking at more potential places to live. Meanwhile, my application for a 13A visa is on hold (my wife is a dual citizen) - the Pierce County Sheriff Dept that has police jurisdiction over where I've lived the last 22 years is not fielding any requests for things like Police Clearance until the County goes to "phase 3" of moving past the lock down policies. At the rate the whole damn US is going, we may never get past where we are. My Plan B is that we might just end up flying in March, get a Balikbayan visa at the airport, go into the 14 day quarantine (since we'll both be retired at the point, we won't care much), then go up to Subic for a while and finish the exploration we wanted to do this year. We'll have our world packed into two suitcases and two balikbayan boxes. so we'll be mobile and fairly flexible to sort it out . But still hoping we can get to a better place before the year is out and get the visa in place, at the least. Another quirk to interject into the journey - dealing with the Philippine Statistic Authority (PSA). As my wife was setting up things for her dual citizenship and new passport, the consulate wanted the new PSA birth certificate. She has birth certificates printed back in the 80s and 90s from the Mabalacat courthouse. Since they were in a transition period, they took those. But we ordered her new one form PSA. It came back with a different birth year! Only way to fix that is petition the court to correct the birth year. So we had done that and had a court date (finally) of March 31 (which is why were going to do a Subic tour in April). The virus blew that away, and that whole fiasco is also hanging - though we luckily got all her paperwork done using her old birth certificates. Still - it's something we want to fix. Feels like something that will just come back and be a hassle some day. Glad I started this whole immigration thing 2 years early.
  15. Thanks OnMyWay, for the info on Pamocan Point. I could tell from the aerial view of the roof tops that these were more than your standard 3-bedroom rental - those things are huge. Maybe I can rent the maids quarters or something. Yeah, we're about 90% committed to renting. If we blundered into the perfect house at the perfect price, we might consider buying, but it would have to be a weirdly perfect circumstance. As noted: just keeping the options open, working in laid back retirement mode, pay for some crash pad until we find something permanent we want to commit to long term. Nice thing about both being retired is no stress to get set up, start a job, take care of kids, etc.
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